Archive for July, 2007

Thursday, July 19th, 2007
Help Needed

This will probably only pertain to published authors. Have any of you approached other authors for a quote? If so, how did you do it? Did you email them? Did you create a form letter? I REALLY need to see the kind of letter that was sent out because I have no idea what it should look like. :/ Thanks!!!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry I’ve been MIA. I received news that my Blaze, Revenge of the Sky Goddess will be released in March 2008. Yay! I have to get a bunch of paperwork filled out asap. With that in mind, I may be quiet tomorrow. I need to get this done. Thanks for understanding. 🙂

Speaking of Harlequin, I saw this announcement on Cindi Myers newsletter. Good opportunity for all the writers out there. Why do I think that this is a good opportunity? Because winning the Blaze contest a few years back is what got me my book deal. 😀

Harlequin Super Romance is sponsoring a Conflict of Interest writing contest. They’re looking for stories with “heightened emotional conflict that raises the stakes — and the sexual tension — for your hero and heroine.” Submit the scene or moment that best illustrates the conflict between the hero and heroine, along with the first chapter and a synopsis of no more than ten pages. The contest is open to both published and unpublished writers. Prizes include a critique by a Superromance editor, a one-year’s subscription to Harlequin Superromance (72 books) and the possibility of publication. Deadline to enter is October 31, 2007. For contest rules, see

Monday, July 16th, 2007
Good Times

I’ve been looking at all the photos around Blogoland. It seems like everyone had a good time this past weekend in Dallas. Glad to hear it. I still stand by my thoughts on the changes that RWA made. I think in the end it’ll be for the best.

I’m taking notes today. Or should I say, still taking notes for the next Tor book/s. I found that when I take a ton of notes before I start writing, the book will flow much faster and easier once I do get started. My notes are short. They tend to be a paragraph or less. Just long enough for me to determine what needs to happen. Once I finish with them all, I write them onto index cards and arrange them. It may not work for everyone, but it’s been extremely helpful to me. 🙂

I want to send birthday wishes out to my ex, G. We dated for close to seven years and are still friends. I hope that you have a very happy day and many, many more to come. Best wishes. 😀

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Actually, the more I’m hearing about these PAN and Publisher changes, the more open I am to them. If they tweak the wording on what constitutes a vanity press/subsidy publisher to make it clearer, then I think it’ll really help authors in the end. Yeah, I know, Hell has frozen over. *ggg*

Thursday, July 12th, 2007
Left Behind And Loving It Series–Paperback Writer

PBW told me I had to asked me to put something together for her left behind and loving it series this week. (Yes, payback is a bitch.;) I decided that I would combine my topics. Why should this entry be any different from my books? *g*

Im going to discuss writing outside the traditional boundaries of romance. Ill use my own trials and triumphs as an example of what roads are available and how to avoid some of the potholes.

There are many reasons a writer might choose to write outside of the traditional boundaries of romance. Perhaps their book doesnt fit what is currently being bought by the New York publishers. They might not like the boundaries that have been set. Maybe theyve combined genres and created a new one. They may even have shied away from the traditional route because they wanted time to experiment. The latter applies to me.

I started writing romance with a traditional slant. It was only after Id heard of Elloras Cave that I considered stepping outside of the boundaries that had been set. I didnt do this because N.Y. wasnt interested in my work. At the time that I submitted to EC, Id never sent anything to New York. I actually went the epub route because I wanted the chance to publish while I learned how to write. Yeah, not the smartest move, but I was a newbie. I didnt know any better. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss. Not often, but sometimes.

I sold the first thing that I submitted to Elloras Cave. Im very fortunate in that respect. I have no idea how long it wouldve taken me to get published had I gone the traditional route. Id like to think not long, but who knows? Around the same time that I was exploring this unconventional genre (ie erotic romance), I was entering contests. I liked contests. I entered them to receive feedback. This was before I got my first critique partner, so feedback was useful. I never entered any contest with the notion that Id automatically final or win. Like I said, I was in it for the feedback. Sometimes that can be just as addictive as winning. 🙂

I researched contests just like I would a book. I looked at which ones were considered prestigious and which ones gave the best feedback. I also looked at who would be the final judge. I entered contests that encompassed all three pieces of my criteria. I ended up entering six contests and finaled in four. Out of those four, I placed in two, the Lori Foster/Kensington Brava contest and the Harlequin published author contest. Both wins landed me book deals. I was lucky. It couldve just as easily turned out to be a bust.

Contests and e-publishing are not the easiest route to New York publishing (if N.Y. is your goal), but they are options if youd like to take a little more time to hone your craft.

As I mentioned above, up until entering the contests, Id NEVER sent anything to New York. The thought terrified me. But in this case, I did not allow the fear to stop me from following through. I finished the Brava novella and submitted it to Kensington. A few months later, I was offered a contract. I landed my first agent the same week. Everything was wonderfulat least for a while.

Have I mentioned that this is an unpredictable and unstable business? (wg)

Things didnt exactly work out like Id anticipated. I found my writing tastes changing. This tends to happen when you havent written enough books. I was still in the trying different genres stage of my early career, when I got published. I wasnt sure what I liked or what I was capable of as a writer. Change is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does put a crimp in building a career if the change is dramatic.

I walked away from a lot, knowing that there was a very good possibility that it would take me years to rebuild what Id started. I had no choice. It was either that or implode. I spent the next two years trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I came very close to quitting. Yep, after multiple books written and published, I seriously considered hanging up my keyboard. Why? I wasnt having fun anymore. Id betrayed myself. I hadnt trusted myself enough to follow my gut. When you do something like that, the muse is not very forgiving. In fact, she can be a downright cold-hearted bitch. During that same time, most of my friends landed multiple book deals. I was (and still am) genuinely happy for them. But its hard to watch, when it feels like the world is passing you by.

It was only once I realized that we are all on our own journey that I began to relax. Being on your own in this business is not the same as being alone. I wasnt missing out on anything. Instead, I was re-evaluating my work and figuring out what I wanted to do. This was my journey. It didnt matter what everyone else was doing. If I wanted to be in it for the long haul, I had to focus on the work and let everything else go. I also had to realize that this wasnt a sprint to the finish line. It was more like a never-ending marathon. You have to learn to pace yourself.

With that in mind, I started a book that didnt fit neatly into the paranormal romance category. It had elements of horror, fantasy and sci-fi. I decided to tell the truth like Stephen King suggested. Smart man. What does that mean? It means I didnt pull punches, when it came to writing the story. If the book called for violent scenes or sex scenes, I wrote them the way they needed to be written. I needed this book to be exactly like I pictured it in my mind. I couldnt worry about whether Id offend anyone or gross anyone out. This book was for me. And me alone. I had to see if I was brave enough to write something that *gasp* people might hate. Typing The End turned out to be a major turning point in my life. I experienced freedom that Id never thought to achieve in this sphere. I also landed a new agent and a three book deal from Tor.

Right about now, youre probably asking yourself, does she have a point? I do. The thing about writing is there are many ways to climb the mountain. Some people take a direct route, while others meander. If you want to go the epub route, then by all means write a story and submit it. There are a lot of good epublishers out there. If you arent comfortable submitting your work to a small press publisher, then try entering a contest. The feedback can be invaluable and theres always a chance it can lead to something better.

Here are a few tips to get you started with contests and epubs:

1. Try to enter contests with at least three judges. Contests are subjective, but for some reason Ive scored better in contests that have more than two judges.

2. Choose your contests wisely and know what you want. Are you entering a contest to get your manuscript in front of a particular editor? Sometimes its easier to query the editor directly. That way you dont waste your money on an entry fee. You cant count on being a finalist. Are you looking for feedback? Some contests have built their reputations on the fact that they give good feedback. Research before you spend those hard-earned dollars.

3. A final bit of advice about contests. Its REALLY easy to get caught up in entering contests. Theyre one of the few things that bring instant gratification in publishing. Through the years Ive seen a lot of writers become contest queens, but they never seem to get past those opening chapters. Dont let yourself become one of them. Yes, contests are thrilling. Yes, they can be addictive. But, the point is to write the book. Never forget that.

4. If youre interested in going the epub route, there are a few things to keep in mind. Just because its an epublisher doesnt mean that you dont have to pay attention to the contract. There are a lot of writers out there whove made that mistake. Find someone experienced in literary contractual law and pay them to go through your contract. Its money well spent.

5. Research all the epublishers. Decide which one best suits your work. It doesnt matter if publisher A is known as the best publisher out there, if they dont specialize in what youre writing. Sometimes being with the BEST isnt what is best for you and your career.

6. Dont get impatient. It takes time to find the right fit. I know its hard to watch your friends land book deals, but you have to plow your own road. Think long-term.

Here are the names of a few contests that have a good reputation:

The Daphne du Maurier

The Orange Rose

The Kensington Brava Contest

The Harlequin Blaze Contest

The Golden Quill

Here are the names of a few e-publishers:


Elloras Cave

Loose Id

Changeling Press

If youve traveled outside the box of traditional romance, what road did you take? Did you forge your own? Are you considering a non-traditional route?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
RWA Changes

Well this should be interesting. I finished reading the changes the RWA made to their bylaws. Yowza! This should be interesting. You can catch some of the action here.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Niece’s Birthday

Today is my niece’s 17th birthday. I cannot believe it. I remember when she was still running around in diapers. Yikes!!! On the flipside, I remember 17 well. It was such a wildly unstable time. Everything was so dramatic. *ggg* I hope she has a lovely day and may they be followed by eighty years more. We love you, E.

Last night I worked on my entry for PBW’s left behind and loving it series. I typed out two pages before I realized that I had NO point. I’m going to try to fix it today. If I can’t, then I’ll scrap the whole thing and start over. Sigh.

Tomorrow I have a hair appointment. I’m actually looking forward to getting out of the house for an hour or so. I think I need to make an effort to write this next book away from home. I don’t think hanging in my office is helping on the creativity front.

Despite all my new books, I find myself re-reading old favorites. I’m still making a dent in the new books, but every evening I tuck into one of my favorite Stephanie Laurens’ books. I think these things go in cycles. When I burn out on reading or writing, I tend to retreat into my keeper shelf. Kathleen Woodiwiss’ passing reminded me how much those books truly mean to me.

For everyone heading off to RWA, have a terrific time and safe travels. For everyone else, I thought you might find this funny. I know that I did.